(no) Sympathy for the Devil

ON ART AND MORTALITY


It is immature and childish and I should probably stop doing it; especially now I actually work with them. In fact, if you are one of my gallerists, please feel unaffected by following statements, or better –stop reading alltogether. We talk, we drink, we laugh, but then it just keeps happening. Little devil horns pop up between their hair (well some bigger than others). The eternal fires of hell flash in their pupils for the shortest of moments- or the classic: old Skroutz Mcduck dollars in their slot-machine-moving-face.

(My apologies oh you almightiness!)

>The image of the gallerist as the All Controlling Lucifer, goes hand in hand with the image of the (nothing controlling) Artist as a Drooling Baby or a Drooling Junkie/Rockstar at best. (My gallerist still write my invoices for me).  It is admittedly a very strained relationship, loaded with a lot of unspoken tensions based on the unshakeable believe from both sides...but more on this- Never. <

A gallerist is the Somebody who makes a lot of things possible for me (the Artist) in what seems like a blink of a red eye. He is ruthless, cool and calculating as James Freaking Bond to everybody else and as soft and comfortable as a grandmother's bossom to me... However you fantasize about your gallerist; the Devil, or a Guardian Angel,  the Fairy Godmother or the Evil Queen, Gandalf, Santa Klaus or Winnie the Pooh nobody actually thinks of him as a human being.  A fellow, hurting, destructible,  mistake-prone human being. And, to be honest, maybe we don’t want to.

(Memento Mori)


 

When the images of the hurricane destruction in the BIG Chelsea galleries came, and I say images as for many this is the only reality they experienced; we were forced to deal with a human error and suffer in an unaccepted context, the art scene otherwise doing it’s best to ban any aspect of mortality, even when it deals with it, or especially when it deals with it. A very good example is Hirschhorn’s show about the sunken Concordia, which had sadly finished before it could be actually flooded. Or the rather questionable choice of re-opening a week after the hurricane with the (moved from January) show Chernobyl of Diana Thater (you guessed correctly with photographs of destruction) at David Zwirner.

Many of us got addicted to the damage-postings coming by the dozens by good willed, albeit a bit exaggerating „journalists“- (Chelsea will NEVER recover; things will never be the same). It was not only Schadenfreude- or not at all; I think it is the hypnotizing appeal of staring in the eyes of such contradiction, which of course at times, suffer aside, can make up for some very good jokes.

Art in America
“Leo Koenig was standing outside his gallery Wednesday afternoon. A work crew ... was working, while the gloomy sounds of Thom Yorke's 2006 solo album, The Eraser, played on a portable stereo inside..."It was worse than I anticipated," Koenig said... “We'll put on a show as soon as we can to show that life goes on. I'm sleeping in the gallery right now," he said, "keeping the doors open to try to mitigate the humidity, which is the number one enemy of art."
artforum
Cindy Sherman was shoring up the confidence of Helene Winerand and Janelle Reiring, her primary dealers throughout her career, and negotiating with them for the last available Manhattan hotel room (at the Carlyle) where they could take hot baths.
Art in America
"Marisa Newman was wearing a poncho while moving work around in her 22nd Street basement gallery, Newman Popiashvili. "Ironically, Jaye Moon really wanted a certain critic to see her show, and I ran into him today," Newman said. "So he came in and I showed him around," she said, and began to cry."
 

At the reception desk in Leo Könnig you are normally greeted with a wall as high as my head, and now he sleeps in the gallery with the doors open? Listening to the ERASER? The last chance at a warm bath- at the C a r l i l e? Surely negotiating for them, not with them? A poncho?- it was not raining that day. As a fashion statement or a sign of poor-ness (see Mexicans)? Why did this good woman cry? Why hadn’t she brought the critic before since it was so important? What was an art critic doing in the mud anyway, and in the end of the day, he saw the stuff, albeit a bit disarranged...so all good? Where was the artist?

and from the human nature to Nature..

Christie’s Reaches Out to Downtown Artists/Galleries
Sara Friedlander, Associate Vice President, Head of First Open at Christie’s in New York, says that the auction house would like to offer a helping hand to downtown artists or galleries who may need help. “We believe the art world is an ecosystem and what is happening downtown effects uptown,” she says....We offer electricity where artists can charge their mobiles....


this a little bit irrelevant, but I have always admired these renaissance breasts @ Brooklyn Museum

I have been having these involuntary conversations here about the realness or un-realness of life in New York, or the un-realness of Manhattan versus Brooklyn; One of which ended in very weird moment of me shouting I am a hipster, you are a hipster too, we are all hipsters!! Involuntarily because I genuinely don’t know what these conversations are about. Reality, or at least what passes as such, is something I have always felt very ill-equipped and more than a little hesitant to deal with.

Take this image of canvases floating face down on dirty water. People kept commenting in fb:  How Sad! How sad! Thank you for posting this, how sad. But how sad is it really? Like on a scale of  Damn!-I-dropped-my-ice-cream to the Fukushima disaster; how SAD is the image of a flooded exhibition? Disturbing yes. (I did not come to New York to splash around in the dark and imagine that was my first show here!) and a little bit of scary; like end-scene-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes scary. But sad- I could not feel it. (until I went there)

Destruction is to artist what blood is to vampires, we feed (are freed) on it. Destruction is the mother of all creativity! We spent a whole night with an artist friend joking about how I (Sandy) single-handedly eliminated the competition (my work dry in my Brooklyn studio); how works on pencil could now simply be re-baptized as watercolors, how we would go dig around for some damp Cindy Shermans in the dumpsters, how we should organize a Half Off! show, how considering insurance the galleries actually sold out (this is not entirely correct as many of the insurances have a lot of safety clauses and some do not actually cover floods)


posted on Zach Feuer gallery fb page on 5th November; this particular comment and a few others about guns had been removed when I tried to find them again. The whole comment chain "closed" after 2 days.

Later I came across (through a very active blogging Zach Feuer)  the hunderds of „civilians“ comments on a CNN.com; reacting to an article on How Sandy created Havoc in Chelsea galleries. Even taking into consideration the usual bitchiness of these forums, the comments are overwhelmingly negative- oh they get real alright!
I went through them, and more than once, hypnotized (again) by another contradiction- how the word (the idea of) art, used with such admiration in our circle and at the same time with such a contempt in another circle. They deal with (not unreasonably) questions of insurance, which leads to questions of the value of art, the position of artist in society, to the political situation at the moment (just before the election) and the role media play in all this. Below a best of, ordered in those categories. 

I will print these comments out, and transcript them on canvas. The work will be shown in the gallery in Chelsea, hopefully recovered by then and it will be sold for (not an obscene) but a considerable amount of money.


Hope that’s not puzzling you
As this Is the nature of my game...

 
regulating traffic@ Lower Manhattan during the black out 


What it does to our city? performance of Cyprien Gaillard during Berlin Art Week this fall


What will America’s art tell about our story?
selection of comments from cnn.com categorized as explained above

INSURANCE FRAUD
next time, rouse yourself from your chaise-longues, my pale friend, and CARRY IT THE F* UPSTAIRS AWAY FROM THE FLOODWATER!
Art' not selling well? Insure it and let the hurricane fix your woes! It's the NY way!
...last seen paddling for help on a floating Picasso! It's the NY way!
Aw, look at the poor millionaires standing there pouting in their enormous galleries in downtown Manhattan. I'm sure the people without food and clean water in Staten Island or the people who lost their homes in Queens have lots of sympathy for you.
Get them some more acid and some free paints and give them a check for the damage to the property and move the f*ck on.
You take the over-priced stuff that has not sold in 2-3 years, put that in the basement, then tell the insurance to pay for it.
Two words: insurance fraud
In fact I'm surprised they aren't selling the stuff with the water marks/damage for more as a "kinetic" piece that embodies the energy surrounding the storm..
Do the insurance companies insure  the store owners on the Wholesale or Retail value of their products?. In that case a flooded Walmart will make millions on the insured junk they bought from China and planned to mark up for 10X the price they paid for it.
VALUE OF ART
-The "art" is worth what someone will pay for it.  A bunch of crayons and construction paper can be replaced by one trip to Walmart.  Lets get real!!!
-I would rather have "paper Art" destroyed than BMWs, Mercedes, & Lexus'. Those cars are the real works of art.
-well at least it was only Contemporary and Modern Art. Hopefully that Urine and Crusifix art bit the dust.
-Abstract art is a product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.
-Not everything can be replaced. I'd like to see you replace the Mona Lisa.
-The expensive art is an investment for the 1%er's, they need to put their money somewhere.
-A Barbie Doll and GI Joe stapled to a cardboard pizza box and covered with latex paint entitled 'Living in Luxury' - price $15,000.00 (without frame) - would some parasite in Washington DC actually write a check for that?
-OMG, I just saw that float by - I'm diving in now to grab it - I'm rich, rich, rich I say!
-I had a figure of Mohammad  submerged in a jar of urine that floated away. I figure it was worth at least 2 or 3 million. Where do I file my claim???
-Any local mosque, or the White House.
-Save The Warhols!
-Gimme a break.  These were not old, historical pieces of art.  This all looks like modern art to me, which I consider junk.  If you don't consider it junk, fine, but it can easily be remade.  You can't repaint a Renoir.   In my opinion Sandy did some needed clutter removal.
"Recovering wet art" "Art triage" "Collection Emergency Response Team" The play on words is a bit sickening.
You can't eat art. Your car won't run on art. Art won't power your lights or heat your home. Get a real job and move on.
I put some art in the gas tank of my car but it won't run!  Art stinks...... 

THE VALUE OF ARTIST 
-Gee, thanks for this story about the least impacted, most privileged, most pretentious residents of New York.
-All these hipsters should get a real job
-Merely nature telling these hipsters that their art sucks.
-Only an artist wouldn't think ahead about the possibility of a flood when a hurricane is coming.
-hate working?  love smelling like a wet dog?  hate having friends?  easy, be an artist
-Being an artist is a real job, and as important to society as any other.
-Last week, CNN had a story about a horse that could paint a self-portrait. There is an artist.
-As important as art is, are we expected to grieve for these losses?  I feel for the artists, but their galleries are still standing.  A lot of people would k*ll to be in their shoes.
-but kill who? a midget?

Political speculation and commentary
-Obama 2012! Early voting is looking good. I hope that we dont have a bunch of conservative killing sprees when the Liberals win. Those rightys are crazy.
-One of them has threatened civil war.  Does that make him a "real" American?
-Mmmm I dont know what makes you a real American. But if your a conservative that may sound like hes being strong, so to a conservative maybe thats what makes a good leader.
-So Republicans hate artist now too. They hate so many thing, it's no wonder they are known as the Party of hate.

TO THE DOWNRIGHT SCARY (or ironic?)
-When the aliens invade Earth and begin wiping humans from existence, if their reasoning is because they read the comments sections on CNN or any other news site, I will understand.
-Is a nuclear mushroom cloud considered to be art?
-How is an oil painting going to protect your family when the muslims invade?
-Art cannot load your gun.
-Children don't need to learn art at school, they need to learn how to load their 4c *

-God is showing what he can do if the liberals don't change their sinful lifestyles of abortions and gay marriage

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